Many people would be more than happy to save the money required to have a plumber come out to the house, but perhaps the most significant reason for DIY plumbing jobs is the self-empowerment it provides. Lots of common plumbing issues—leaky taps, replacing showerheads, etc.—can be accomplished by willing and persistent novices.

While it’s absolutely true that most of us should leave ripping into walls or pulling up floorboards to the professionals, not all projects involve such drastic measures. A clogged drain hardly demands dismantling the house to resolve. In other words, when the problems are simple to solve, why not try yourself before forking over a boatload of cash for five minutes of work?

For those ready for a little more self-reliance and basic home repair capabilities, here are some DIY plumbing jobs we unlicensed plumbers can attempt without making the house explode (or, more appropriately, flood).

1. The Leaky Tap

Source: This Old House/Youtube

Leaky taps both waste a tremendous amount of water as those drips accumulate into cups then gallons and drive anyone with ears bananas as they go on and on and on. Many of us suffer with leaky taps for weeks and months before dealing with them. Don’t.

Fixing a leaky tap is simple, more than likely just a matter of replacing a rubber washer or O-ring. Once the shut-off valves under the sink are closed, the offending faucet head, base, or handle can be removed with basic tools (a screwdriver, an Allen wrench, and a crescent wrench). The replacement washers will cost no more than a few bucks.

2. A Clogged Drain

Source: DIY School/Youtube

Another common plumbing problem is the clogged drain. If water suddenly refuses to leave the sink or tub, we don’t need to immediately phone the plumber. Odds are we can fix the problem on our own, likely with stuff we already have (none of those damaging specialty products).

A plunger will often unclog a stopped-up drain, but in order to prevent future issues, it is important to clean up the pipes anyway. To do this, or to help with dogged clogs, all we may need is baking soda and vinegar. Essentially, we make the volcano from elementary science projects in a clogged drain: ½ cup of baking soda followed by a cup of vinegar and a cup of water.

3. The Unceasing Toilet

Source: Roger Wakefield/Youtube

Much the same as the leaky tap, the unceasing—or running—toilet can be the cause of serious water wastage, as well as mental instability. While sometimes “jiggling the handle” temporarily solves this problem, the real solution is sorting out the inner workings in the toilet tank.

The running toilet is caused by a faulty flapper or fill valve. Often the chain on the flapper valve is holding it open. If needed, replacing the flapper, which stops water from continually flowing into the toilet bowl, doesn’t even require tools. Otherwise, cleaning out the fill valve can solve the issue, or replacing the fill valve (about $10) is just a couple of easy steps at this point.

4. Replacing a Showerhead

Source: The Home Depot/Youtube

Whether it’s a matter of getting more stylish or going green (or often both), replacing a showerhead is a common DIY task for the home improvement beginner. In a matter of minutes, a showerhead can be taken off and replaced with a low-flow model to help with conserving household water.

With the basic groove joint pliers and crescent wrench found in most DIY toolboxes, the showerhead can be unscrewed from the shower arm coming out of the wall. The joint pliers hold the shower arm in place and the crescent wrench turns counter-clockwise to unscrew the showerhead. Then, it’s just a matter of screwing on the new showerhead.

5. A Jammed Disposal

Source: Deanin’ It Yourself/Youtube

Garbage disposals can be scary contraptions, and hopefully, with home composting on the rise, they will largely be a thing of the past. Nevertheless, they are currently a part of the everyday American kitchen sink system, and sometimes they get jammed. Nobody wants to put their hand down there!

Most disposal problems can be solved with a little know-how. The issue could be nothing more than a lack of power going to the disposal: check the breaker, the plug, and push the reset button beneath the disposal. An inexpensive garbage disposal tool may help with loosening up the disposal in place, or the disposal is easy to remove so that the tool can be used more forcefully.

Of course, if a problem feels beyond your capacity to fix, there is always the plumber to rely on, and he or she will be happy to help. But, when it’s possible to fix things ourselves, that’s part of the self-reliant, self-sufficient living stealing so many headlines these days. Plus, it just feels great to do it yourself!

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